33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration * by Father Michael E. Gaitley, MIC available on Amazon.com
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This book is a little-more-than one month do-it-yourself retreat. I read it at the same time as several other women connected to the Catholic school where I work, but was not part of any faith sharing group. I did meet with my spiritual director over the course of the book, but it really is a book that works completely alone. I’ve read several other books by Father Gaitley since, but this is by far my favorite, and the only one I kept on my shelf instead of passing it along.
The layout of the book is simple: there are four weeks of retreat, each week dedicated to the writings of a specific saint on Mary. Then there are three days of review and the whole experience culminates with a Marian consecration, which is a long-standing Catholic tradition. The first week takes you through the writings and teachings of Louis De Montfort, who, from what I can tell, is the person who mostly came up with the idea of Marian consecration. Then week two is Maximilian Kolbe, so obviously that was what sold me on the book and the idea of Marian consecration in general. Weeks three and four are from the writings of Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul the Second. So it is a retreat filled with writings from some super power house saints.
While I loved reading the work of these four amazing saints and learning a bit about Louis De Montfort who was new to me, I did find Father Michael’s style to be a bit challenging sometimes. I also decided not to do the Marian consecration at the end of the 33 days because I didn’t feel that I was ready to do so.
I wanted to end this review with a little note about Marian consecration for my non-Catholic friends reading the blog, or for my Catholic friends who, like me, were unfamiliar with the idea before hearing about in the context of this book. Basically a Marian consecration is allowing Mary, the Mother of God, to become more fully our mother- protecting us and helping us in our journey to become true Christians, or little Christs. It’s not a creepy or weird cult-esque Mary worship or anything like that. It’s just asking Jesus’s mom to be with us in a special way on our journey to him.
One last thing- probably my favorite thing about this book is the schedule of when to start your retreat. There’s a whole list at the beginning for when to start if you want to end on certain Marian feasts. My one complaint, and it is a small one, is that Our Lady of Hope (my favorite) isn’t one of the options.
Popcorn: 2- this book is challenging both on a reading and a spiritual level
Stars: 4- but it could be a 5 star if I have the chance to do it again. I think my biggest problem was that I wasn’t really ready for consecration at the time I read the book.
*This link is an affiliate link. This means that if you decide to purchase this book on Amazon using my link, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you.